Hamilton swipes one of 155 bases in 2012Credit: AP/Ben Twingley
MLB September call ups (when teams can expand to beyond a 25-man roster to anyone on their 40-man roster) can always add a weapon or two to contenders, but usually aren’t game changers. The Cincinnati Reds, however, have a potential serious game changer in 22-year-old prospect OF Billy Hamilton, who was called up on Monday and is eligible for today’s game.
Hamilton set the minor leagues on fire in 2012 by blowing away the record for steals in a major or minor league season with 155 (although there are reports he stole 175, not sure about the discrepancy). His bat probably hasn’t caught up to his major league speed, but that may not matter. With 10 of their remaining 26 games (coming into Monday) against the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates (the two teams just 3.5 games ahead of them in the NL Central), Hamilton could mean practically a run per game as a pinch runner, perhaps tilting one or two of those contest. And their other 15 games feature 12 contests against the likes of the Cubs, Brewers, Astros, and Mets. The Reds might be onto something.
The Reds are the defending NL Central champs and haven’t had it all come together yet. But at 76-61, sit comfortably ahead of the field in the Wild Card race and, if they don’t end up winning the Central, it will be interesting how the Reds play their roster for the one-game Wild Card and then beyond. Since Hamilton wasn’t in the majors prior to September 1, he’s technically not eligible for the postseason, unless there is an injury exemption approved by the commissioner (fairly common). If I were the Reds, I consider the spot for him, you don’t quite need as much bench depth in the postseason since your starters go every game. Although in the NL, every batter can matter in the late innings and you’ll need a pinch hitter or three.
In the meantime, we can just watch him fly and see if he is the secret weapon to push the Reds over the top!
- David Whitlock
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The post Is Cincinnati Reds speedster Billy Hamilton the secret weapon to win the NL Central appeared first on Reading Between The Seams.